DHS News

Legislative Days

To: DHS Staff
Message from DHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht

September 22, 2017

This week I had my first opportunity as your director to represent you before the Oregon State Legislature during September Legislative Days. I was honored to speak on behalf of you, the thousands of DHS employees working every day for people who need our help.

“Leg (sounds like ledge) Days” are when our state lawmakers meet in Salem for three days in between their annual sessions to hear status reports, and to discuss emerging issues and needs.

Key human services committees invited me to discuss my early observations and priorities for our agency, and I want to share them with you.

Given the conversations I’ve had with staff in our local and central offices the past few weeks, I know we have dedicated and caring people willing to step up to move our work forward. Good work is happening in every part of DHS and the environment is ripe for progress. It’s reassuring to know we have the right vision, mission and values already in place. We have a great foundation to build upon.

On top of that foundation, priorities in five areas are starting to grow and take shape.

  • Delivering on key initiatives such as our Unified Child and Youth Safety Implementation Project to improve children’s well-being, and the Integrated Eligibility (IE) project to create a single place online where people can apply for DHS and OHA benefits in the same system agencies will use to determine eligibility.
  • Enhancing use of research, data and analytics to improve services for Oregonians.
  • Strengthening performance by maturing the management system. This involves identifying what the work is in each part of the agency, how it gets done, who is responsible for it, how we know if we’re doing it well and, what kind of outcomes we get when we do the work the way it’s supposed to be done.
  • Growing our equity and inclusion efforts. DHS is the largest agency with the most employees and is in a position where we can have a significant impact across the state.
  • Advancing efforts to deliver services seamlessly to Oregonians by operating as one integrated agency. This is different than consolidation where we put services and people together in the same place. By integration, we mean that even though we are working across programs inside the agency, our delivery of services to Oregonians looks seamless.
  • Delivering on key initiatives in all five program areas.

Our Legislature is like our board of directors, making budget and policy decisions that affect our daily work of helping Oregonians reach their full potential. It’s a critical partner I will depend on, along with you, to guide me in moving DHS forward to achieve priorities in a way we can all be proud of.

Thank you for all you do for the Oregonians we serve.​​​​​​​

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